End Zanzibar election crisis now, NGOs urge politicians

Sunday November 15 2015

 

By Salma Said

Zanzibar. Four NGOs yesterday appealed to leaders in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar to resolve the ongoing political impasse which has adversely affected people psychologically.

The four NGOs: Zanzibar Interfaith Center, Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), Association of Non-governmental organisations in Zanzibar (Angoza) and Tanzania Media Women’s Association (Tamwa) made the joint appeal at the end of their one-day meeting held here.

A Tamwa coordinator for Zanzibar, Ms Mzuri Issa Hassan, told a news conference at a hotel here that the political crisis was psychologically and economically affecting people in the clove Islands.

“The political situation in Zanzibar is volatile and calls for immediate attention to resolve it. People bought food and stored in their houses fearing for the worse,” she said.

Ms Mzuri added that the NGOs also appealed to the leaders to resolve the political stand-off in a peaceful manner and do all they could to avoid bloodletting.

The political stand-off in Zanzibar started on October 28 after the chairman of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC), Mr Jecha Salum Jecha, announced nullification of the October 25 General Election citing irregularities.

In their joint declaration, the NGOs said that the annulled elections had left the east African archipelago in a political limbo.

On Friday, the Secretary General of opposition Civic United Front (Cuf), Mr Seif Sharrif Hamad, held talks with diplomats accredited to Tanzania aimed at finding a solution to the political impasse.

The talks were held a day after the United Nations and the European Union expressed optimism and support on the ongoing high level negotiations aimed at resolving the crisis.

Mr Hamad also held talks with former Chadema presidential candidate, Mr Edward Lowassa.

On Thursday, the UN representative to Tanzania, Mr Alvaro Rodriguez and EU Head of delegation to Tanzania, Mr Sebregondi, said in a joint news conference that their organisations were anxiously observing the talks and would welcome positive developments from the talks.

Following the nullification of the Zanzibar elections, international election observers and the governments of the United States and Britain called ZEC to resume the election results tabulation process without delay.